The automotive industry is steadily moving towards fully autonomous vehicles, and it is becoming important to understand attitudes towards them. This study is an aspect of the www.ukautodrive.com project with Jaguar-Land Rover, RDM Automotive, and The University of Warwick’s Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG). Uniquely, we used a prototype fully autonomous vehicle, and were interested in pedestrian attitudes towards this vehicle manoeuvring in close proximity. Using virtual reality (VR) cameras, we filmed 18 manoeuvring scenarios and presented them using VR equipment. Participants answered four short rating-scale questions after each exposure, and self-reported less trust and safety when the vehicle was faster and closer. This work has implications both for real-world autonomous vehicles, and for further use of VR technology. That the VR environments seemed sufficiently convincing to evoke consistent responses from volunteers represents a considerable opportunity across a variety of experimental domains, and can improve further with advances in this technology.
Burns, C. G., Oliveira, L., Hung, V., Thomas, P., & Birrell, S. (2020). Pedestrian Attitudes to Shared-Space Interactions with Autonomous Vehicles – A Virtual Reality Study. In Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing (Vol. 964, pp. 307–316). Springer Verlag. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20503-4_29